Entertainment Magazine: Tucson: Attractions: Oro Valley: Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park- encroaching city makes park too close for some

Catalina State Park

  • Catalina Park History
  • Hiking, Events & Trails
  • The Romero Ruins
  • Across the street from the new Walmart at 11500 N. Oracle Road (Highway 77) in Oro Valley, near Tucson, Arizona, is the entrance to the historic Catalina State Park, a popular hiking and camping spot for generations.

    That's right- across the street from the Walmart.

    Commercial and housing development has crawled all the way up Oracle Road to the Catalina State Park entrance in Tucson, AZ. where the recent Oro Valley Marketplace opened.

    But, beyond the gates to the Arizona State Park, the area is as near pristine as it was decades ago.

    The Catalina State Park is located in the Coronado National Forest along the west side of the Catalina Mountains. There are several well marked hiking trails for a short or long hike.

    Camping is allowed in designated areas. There are handicap accessible trails and picnic areas. Pick up a copy of the Catalina State Park trail map at the Ranger Station.

    So now, when someone asks one of the best places to hike or camp on the northside- just tell them to go across the street from Walmart.

    Catalina State Park Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

    Catalina State Park in Tucson, Arizona celebrats its 30th anniversary on May 4, 2013. Arizona State Parks and the Friends of Catalina State Park are co-sponsored a daylong celebration at the Park. Read more about Catalina State Park 30th Anniversary.

    Catalina State Park hiking

    The city of Tucson and Oro Valley are blocked out by Mother Nature once you cross the nearly dried creek bed and take a short hike along one of the many available trails and trail loops. More photos, videos and history of the Catalina State Park.

    The Catalina State Park

    Nearby Catalina State Park

    Related links for Catalina State Park

    Catalina State Park Quick FAQ's

    Catalina State Park is located within Coronado National Forest, and is managed by Arizona State Parks in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.

    The Park was dedicated by then Governor Bruce Babbitt on May 25, 1983. He described Catalina State Park as Arizona's first "great urban park."  The Park attracts between 170,000 and 200,000 visitors each year from all over the world. The Park plays an important role in the communities of northern Tucson, Oro Valley and Catalina. Many people who live and work in these areas visit it regularly with their families to hike, camp, picnic, ride bikes and horses and walk their dogs. Many local groups and associations such as the Tucson Audubon Society, local schools such as Basis Schools, Citizens for Solar, and the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection organize events at Catalina State Park.

    Parking Entrance Fee: There is a $7 per vehicle fee to park, which includes a map of trails for hiking and camping and a Catalina State Park Trail Guide. Annual passes are available for frequent hikers and campers.

    Picnic: The picnic area has picnic tables, BBQ grills, modern flush restroom, and one 20x40 foot shade ramada. Picnic area facilities are available first-come, first-served. No reservations. Day use hours are 5 am-10 pm. A 20x40' ramada can now be reserved. It has two grills and 10 picnic tables. It is only for day use.

    Hiking: Several maintained trails run through the Catalina State Park. Get information on hiking trails and camping.

    Visitor Station: The Visitor Center/Ranger Station is located at the park entrance and is open from 8 am – 5 pm daily. A small gift shop area is located in the visitor center/ranger station and is open from 8am-5pm.

    Park Rules

    • Pets must be kept on a leash.
    • Wood fires and ground fires are prohibited, except in Group Areas.
    • Natural materials/features in the park are protected.
    • Camping is limited to 14 nights in a 30-day period.
    • Generator hours: 8 am to 8 pm.
    • Quiet hours: 10 pm to 7 am.

    Directions: 11500 N. Oracle Road (Highway 77). Catalina State Park is located on State Highway 77 (Oracle Road) at mile marker 81, just nine miles north of Tucson and six miles north of Ina Road.

    Contact: (520) 628-5798

    Tucson Entertainment Magazine

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